With starting middle linebacker David Reese is questionable for Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern due to an ankle injury, junior Rayshad Jackson is preparing to possibly make his first start on the Florida defense.
“I’m very excited right now,” Jackson said. “I just want to show all those people that I can play.
In his first two seasons, Jackson mainly just played on special teams, but he’s advanced beyond that with a strong spring and preseason camp.
Even if Reese is able to go Saturday night, Jackson is in the playing rotation at linebacker and expected to get significant reps.
“I improved on my speed, improved on my tackling and improved as a football player,” Jackson said of his rise to potential starter.
Jackson said the defense as a whole is jacked up about the start of the season.
“We can’t wait to get on the field to show the relentless effort we put in during the offseason,” he said.
Junior Jeawon Taylor, who underwent shoulder surgery last November and was held out of contact in the spring, is back to 100 percent and is starting Saturday’s game at safety.
“It feels great to be back,” he said. “I feel like I could have hit in the spring, but I’m just grateful to be here. All glory to God.”
Taylor really started coming on the second half of last season, starting five of the final six games before getting hurt in the UAB game.
He said he’s a better player now than he was last fall.
“I feel like I can make more plays than last year,” Taylor said. “I’ve gotten bigger, stronger, faster. I have a lot more endurance.”
Mr. Two Bits
Former UF wide receiver Cris Collinsworth (1977-80), an analyst for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” will be the honorary “Mr. Two Bits” for Saturday’s opener against Charleston Southern.